For us yogis, "anger" may sound like a dirty word. We definitely are a community of people known for being able to keep their cool. But let's face it: anger is a natural emotion that every human being on this earth has experienced. So what do you do when you totally lose it? For me, anger comes most recognizably in the form of frustration. Mismatched personalities, an unwanted chain of events, or devastating news can easily produce these types of feelings. Yoga can help me to reverse negative feelings. Here's my list of ways:
• Don't let anger anger you! No, this is not a typo. A lot of times, feelings of anger will bring about additional feelings of anger. You get angry because you are angry and maybe you feel bad about losing your cool. Practicing yoga helps us find acceptance. We can allow ourselves to feel these feelings, not deny them. Once we can allow the initial flood of emotions to pass, we can focus on the next right move we need to make.
• Don't forget to breathe! The three part breath (also known as the complete breath) that we learn from frequenting classes can be practiced on and off the mat. It is easy and comes along with a myriad of health benefits, one of which is decreasing stress. When you feel overwhelmed by anger or frustration, take a minute to close your eyes and practice: stand straight and slowly breathe (through the nose) into the belly, then the rib cage, then the upper chest. Slowly breathe out through the mouth. The slow inhale and exhale will oxygenate your blood cells, reducing visceral tension throughout the body.
• Breathe (again). Try Lion's Breath. If nothing else, this exercise will make you laugh because it's a little goofy. Take a deep breath in. On the exhale, Stick out the tongue as far as you can, bringing the drishti (gazing spot) towards the third eye. Make a “ha” sound as you breathe out. This practice will help you reduce stress and loosens the muscles.
• Sun Salutations! If you want to release some negative energy, bust out your yoga mat and get moving! Run through a few sun salutations. End with a few minutes in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) to meditate.
How does yoga help you manage negative feelings? Do you have an arsenal of holistic, anxiety-busting remedies you can use when that bad day comes along? If so, let us know!